Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

Portfolio Tag integration

Crossing Over to an Improved Era of Community Development

The field of community development is at an inflection point, poised to achieve scale, impact, and integration of the many lessons learned over the past 40 years. It is on the threshold of entering a new phase capable of meeting the twin goals of revitalizing low-income neighborhoods …

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Fighting Poverty through Community Development

The Great Recession forced families and communities to confront the worst economic collapse most of us had seen in our lifetimes. When President Obama took office, the economy was shedding 750,000 jobs per month, and foreclosures were rising to record levels. Since then, the economy h…

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People Transforming Communities. For Good.

Neighborhood Centers, Inc., has a long and rich history in community development, beginning with our origin as a part of the Settlement House movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s, meant to welcome newcomers to the United States and designed to make sure people knew how to live i…

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It Takes a Neighborhood: Purpose Built Communities and Neighborhood Transformation

About 70 percent of prisoners in New York State come from eight neighborhoods in New York City. These neighborhoods suffer profound poverty, exclusion, marginalization and despair. All these things nourish crime.1 In December 1993, Atlanta developer and philanthropist Tom Cousins came…

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From Community to Prosperity

“Past performance should not be seen as an indicator of future success.” Anyone who has ever had to decide among investment options, whether for retirement, an endowment, or savings, should be familiar with this warning. Just because a certain investment achieved a 20 percent return o…

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Why Health, Poverty, and Community Development Are Inseparable

For 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care for all Americans. Our mission demands that we confront head-on inequalities in access to high-quality health care and other factors that contribute to health and longevity, especially for po…

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The World Has Changed and So Must We

A RUDE AWAKENING Like other American foundations, the F. B. Heron Foundation has for years focused on helping families at the bottom of the economic and social scale—inheritors of persistent poverty, racial and ethnic discrimination, social and geographic isolation, and various failur…

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Integration and Innovation in a Time of Stress: Doing the Best for People and Place

Over the past decade, amid bubble and bust, community development has undergone a subtle but important transformation, broadening its outlook from a primary focus on investment in real estate, especially affordable housing, to include other types of real estate, such as charter school…

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Routinizing the Extraordinary

It is hard not to be inspired by the community-revitalizing work highlighted in this book. Geoffrey Canada, Angela Blanchard, Tom Cousins, and many others are lifted up as extraordinary leaders who are making their communities thrive despite difficult circumstances. But we cannot rely…

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Inflection Point: New Vision, New Strategy, New Organization

What does it cost to build a great society? More pointedly, what does it cost to lose a great society? Since the War on Poverty began almost 50 years ago, investments in America’s communities have spurred those questions. Today we face a society more unequal than at any time since the…

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About The Project

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.

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The views expressed in this book and on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Federal Reserve System, or the Low Income Investment Fund.

Tell Us What Works

The ideas in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities are just a start. We want to hear about what’s working in your community. Tell us about innovative ideas for addressing poverty and share examples of people and places that inspire you. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Tell Us What Works

Funding for this project was generously provided to the Low Income Investment Fund by the Citi Foundation.